Derek Hillsbrough was initially uneasy about moving from the big city lights of New York City to the decidedly smaller city of Rochester. “New York is the big city,” he said, “and as expensive and crazy as things get, you know that there will always be opportunities and resources to grab those opportunities.” By comparison, Rochester was a small city with some big question marks. “All I really knew about Rochester was that Kodak had just failed. I was worried about moving there and trying to start a business until a friend of mine sent me a few copies of the Rochester business journal.”
The Rochester Business Journal is one of Rochester’s staples, along with Wegmans Rochester, Marketplace Mall Rochester and the Dinosaur Barbecue. “Rochester is an interesting market,” said Hillsbrough. “New York is a city that has everything. Rochester is a city that has the things NYC does not have, if that makes any sense.” Hillsbrough was referring to Rochester’s tradition of local, specialty shops and boutiques. The Park Ave and South Wedge areas in particular are breeding grounds for local start up businesses, while Henrietta offers mainstream options and Pittsford caters to the upscale market. To navigate such an idiosyncratic market, one needs to consult a source that understands that market.
The Rochester Business Journal is just such a source, as it knows Rochester direct from years of experience. The RBJ offer traditional business fare, including local business news and opinion articles, and it offers those services at a consistently high level. The journal recently won four national press awards for its 2012 content in the National Newspaper Association’s 2013 Better Newspaper contest. The RBJ also offers resources for the business historian, providing online archives going back to 1995. “I really appreciated the archives,” said Hillsbrough. “They allowed me, as an outsider, to easily get up to speed on the trends of the Rochester market.”
The RBJ is perhaps best known for its lists. Every week, they publish a series of lists ranking the top 25 businesses in various categories. “It is a great networking tool,” said Hillsbrough. “Each list has more than a thousand business contacts in different industries.” These lists are just part of the long standing relationship between the RBJ and the Rochester business alliance, which is the local chamber of commerce for all nine counties (Monroe, Genesee, Livingston, Ontario, Orleans, Seneca, Wayne, Wyoming and Yates) that comprise the Rochester area. Where the Alliance provides help with advocacy and human resources, the Journal offers knowledge and networking opportunity.
“Between those two resources,” said Hillbrough, “I have found Rochester to be a fantastic place to open a business. It is no NYC, but then again, there are ways that NYC is no Rochester.”